Vietnam’s budget transparency score in 2019 significantly increased to 38 out of the maximum of 100, 23 points higher than the previous assessment in 2017, according to the Open Budget Survey (OBS).

 The transparency score for Vietnam over time. Source: OBS 2019. 

The country scored 11 out of 100 in public participation and 74 in budget oversight, four and two points higher than in 2017, respectively.

Overall, Vietnam is ranked 77 out of 117 countries and territories, up 14 places against 2017.

The OBS 2019 suggested Vietnam has increased the availability of budget information, by publishing the executive’s budget proposal, the citizens budget and audit report online in a timely manner, as well as increasing the information provided in the in-year reports.

 Source: OBS 2019. 

However, the country should produce and publish a mid-year review online in a timely manner, which includes revised projections for the full fiscal year for expenditures, revenues, and debt.

Among measures to improve budget transparency, the OBS 2019 said the Ministry of Finance (MoF) should include in the executive's budget proposal additional details and information, such as prior year outcomes for expenditures and revenues (at least two years before the budget year), a complete macroeconomic forecast, and information on fiscal risks such as extra-budgetary funds, contingent liabilities, and the financial and non-financial assets held by the government.

The MoF is expected to improve the comprehensiveness of the pre-budget statement by including information on anticipated borrowing and debt for the upcoming year.

While Vietnam’s public participation score remained low, it is recommended that the MoF should pilot mechanisms to engage the public during budget formulation and to monitor budget implementation.

It is also essential that the finance ministry should actively engage with vulnerable and underrepresented communities, directly or through civil society organizations representing them.

In response to the OBS 2019 result, the MoF said it is committed to ensure greater transparency in state budget, while applying IT during the budget management for wider public participation.

The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument that uses internationally accepted criteria to assess public access to central government budget information; formal opportunities for the public to participate in the national budget process; and the role of budget oversight institutions such as the legislature and auditor in the budget process. Hanoitimes

Ngoc Thuy

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